View from the opposition: Leeds must deal with pressures of play-off chase to beat Norwich City
- Credit: PA
He may be based in Peterborough but diehard Leeds United fan Simon Barton rarely misses any of his team's games – and is feeling hopeful ahead of today's Elland Road encounter.
What has gone wrong in recent weeks?
One win in six simply hasn't been good enough. It is hard to pin point a specific reason. The goal scoring chances created recently have reduced. Chris Wood is an excellent goal-scorer but, of course, he needs to have opportunities provided to him. Our midfield has been inconsistent on occasions, we have some very creative and skilful players but they can sometimes seem to disappear during parts of the game. Maybe the pressure of trying to make the play-offs has got to them.
Are you worried by reports of Norwich's interest in Garry Monk?
Of course I am. I would say the vast majority of Leeds fans want Monk to extend his contract and stay at Leeds United to finish the job he has started so well. Working with our current owner has not been easy for any manger over the past few seasons but Monk has got on with the job quietly and confidently. I am probably more concerned about him being offered a position in the Premier League as I believe he is more than capable of doing a good job for a top team.
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How has former Canaries keeper Rob Green been getting on?
Rob Green has proved an excellent signing. He has managed to organise our defence, he is vocal and experienced. There are many occasions where Rob has kept us in the game and if anything he has improved as the season has gone on. The fact that only Brighton and Newcastle have conceded fewer goals than us tells the story of his impact at Leeds United very clearly. In the recent game at Newcastle we managed to come away with a draw despite Newcastle having 22 shots and that was mostly down to Rob.
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Which players have been your best performers?
It would be hard to look past the top goal-scorer in the Championship, Chris Wood, when thinking about our best player this season. His 25 Championship goals, so far, have been a key element of our performances. But the basis of our success this season has been a well organised defence, one of the best in the division in my opinion. Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley have been immense in the centre of our defence all season and as mentioned above Rob Green has been a great signing.
And which players have been disappointing?
The two players who came in on loan during the January transfer window, Alfonso Pedraza and Modou Barrow, have been a little disappointing to me as I expected much more from them. I appreciate that they haven't had a great deal of opportunities to shine but I think they are capable of much better performances. Generally though, I have been very pleased with the level of our team performances this season. Well apart from the last few games of course.
Have you been surprised to see Norwich miss out on the top six?
I have been very surprised as you would normally expect any team relegated from the Premier League to be challenging at the top of the table due to the financial benefits of having been in the top division. Clearly as shown by your recent games against Reading and Brighton you have the ability to beat the best teams well but your defence has been letting you down. Only two teams have scored more goals than Norwich so an improved defence over the summer should see you challenging next season.
Which of City's players are you most wary of?
The one that immediately springs to mind is our ex-player Jonny Howson. He was an excellent player for us and one whom I was very sad to see leave. His passing and vision can be captivating to watch and I hope he has a poor game today. You also have a number of players who are capable of getting a goal or two, Oliveira, Pritchard, Murphy and Jerome can all pose a great threat in front of goal so a top game will be needed by Rob Green.
What is your prediction for today's game?
We have had two great games against you already this season but this time I think we will keep a clean sheet. Therefore my prediction is 2-0 to Leeds United, both scored by Chris Wood.
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